A "Resist" banner is displayed during the #IndigenousRising round dance in Washington, D.C., on April 28, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Steven Newcomb: Indigenous nations aren't obligated to follow colonial ideas

Who decided that indigenous peoples and their nations must follow the colonizers' ideas, judgments and systems of domination forever? Steven Newcomb (Shawnee / Lenape) of the Indigenous Law Institute wants to know:
There is a consequence to the assumption that Native nations and peoples are obligated to abide by the ideas and judgments that Christian European white men created long ago and handed down to their descendants. That assumed obligation precludes ideas and judgments created by our ancestors, our nations and peoples. Green appears to be saying that only the ideas of the colonizers shall be used to judge whether the colonizers’ ideas from the past were valid. In other words, since the colonizers of the past assumed that their ideas, judgments, and arguments were valid, then we are now obligated to accept the view that the colonizers’ ideas, judgments, and arguments from the past are valid, and binding on us today.

If we ask on what basis our original nations are said to be obligated to quietly accept the ideas that the invading white man created in the past, the answer is rather simple: The colonizers mentally created the view that their Christian God had made the white man “superior” to us and destined to rule our lives by creating a system of domination for our containment. The colonizers then expected our ancestors to accept the idea that the imaginative mental activity of the colonizers somehow caused our ancestors to be obligated to accept and abide by the colonizers’ imaginative mental activity.

Because there is a general acceptance today of the colonizing ideas and arguments that the Christian European colonizers created centuries ago, it is now typically assumed that we as Native people have inherited from our ancestors an obligation to meekly accept the colonizers’ dominating ideas and judgments. By referring to the ideas and judgments of the colonizing white man as “the law” or as “international law,” today’s descendants of the colonizers have made it seem as if the colonizers’ system of domination is valid and unquestionable. This means it is now up to us to decide how and on what basis we are going to challenge the colonizers’ ideas and judgments.

Read More on the Story:
Steven Newcomb: On Ideas that Emerged from the Invading Mentality of the Colonizers (Indian Country Media Network 8/4)

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